"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

ID: The easy wins

The early returns from around Idaho – about a sixth of precincts in so far – show more or less what you’d expect in the major office races around Idaho. More or less.

The presidentials were a little closer than the candidates’ status might have suggested, though not drastically. In February, Barack Obama absolutely mopped up – Idaho is one of his very best states so far. That was in the caucuses (which attracted an unusually large number of participants, it should be noted). So far in this primary – at a time when he’s closing in the nomination, a very different picture from February – he’s winning over Hillary Clinton but by a far smaller percentage (54% to 42% at this writing). Something similar happened in the Washington state caucuses/primary. Still not a bad win. In lily-white Idaho.

Both U.S. Senate primaries turned out to be done deals the way they were widely expected to be, Republican Jim Risch and Democrat Larry LaRocco both winning with something around or approaching two-thirds of the vote in their respective contests.

Last weekend we noted a poll suggesting that in the 1st District House Republican race, Matthew Salisbury might be competitive with incumbent Bill Sali. Seems not to have materialized, with Sali running ahead 65%-35%, a decisively enough win. And yet one that should give some cause for concern for the general. Over in the second district Republican incumbent Mike Simpson, who had two primary opponents, was winning with 85% of the vote. Quite a difference.

And in the Supreme Court race, incumbent Joel Horton is leading challenger John Bradbury, a district judge from Lewiston, 52%-48%. But keep a watch on that one: Bradbury’s numbers could get better as the northern (meaning Pacific time zone) votes come in. So we’ll see.

Not much excitement on the major office level. Back in a moment with the legislature . . .

UPDATE The numbers have widened a bit in the Democratic presidential – Obama now has a 57%-39% lead, 18 points – while the Republican has held steady, with Ron Paul holding at 22% against nominee presumptive John McCain.

But they’ve tightened up considerably in the 1st District Republican, 60%-40%. (Simpson: Still 85%) Does Sali have some lingering internal problems?

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